Illumination from the Eclipse

So I skipped writing a blog last week. Why? Because it just didn’t occur to me that it was Monday. I was in such a state of flow with my life that I didn’t realize that a new week had started. Plus there was a solar eclipse! The first solar eclipse to be visible in our tiny speck of the solar system in 99 years! That’s a big deal. Here we all are on this spinning rock that is revolving around a giant ball of fire. And for a few moments, another rock, much smaller than the giant ball of fire, blocks the light coming from the giant ball of fire. What are the odds that our little moon, so much smaller than the sun, would be the perfect distance from the earth and from the sun that in the path of totality, it completely obscures the sun?

So for one day, or maybe just a few minutes, people from one end of our country to the other stopped what they were doing to look up and observe a natural phenomenon that proved that no matter how precisely science can explain such an occurrence, it still inspires awe and wonder. And that awe and wonder serves to bring us all together in a way that lets us put aside our differences in favor of our common humanity.

As I sit here typing, leaves are falling from trees in my backyard. Soon the remaining leaves will turn yellow, orange, and red - another phenomenon explained by science that still inspires awe and wonder. Many of us will stop to observe that as well, maybe traveling to state parks, mountains, or even New England. If you think about it, that stopping and observing, that coming together as humans in awe of the world around us, is yoga.

Lately, with no forethought whatsoever, I have been closing my yoga classes by asking my students, after they rise up from savasana, to just sit quietly for a few more moments and observe. Observe the breath; observe the body; appreciate stillness. I started that simply because I found myself wanting to do that. (And now that I think about it, that started around the time of the recent lunar eclipse.) It seems like the most powerful part of the practice for me right now.

Taking time out of our day to day lives to stop and observe what is going on in and around us IS yoga. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t even have to involve poses. It only has to remind us that we are somehow connected to the world around us and to each other. So as we transition from the heat of summer to the cool clarity of fall, take some time to appreciate, in awe and wonder, the ordinary phenomenon of being human.

I hope to see you in the studio.